|SRT Class of '21|
|Start of the Race @AT/SRT Junction|
|My fashionable skirt|
|Made it through the dark!|
The sun was just starting to pop out as we made it to the top of the last climb on this ridge section.. We caught an absolutely beautiful sunrise before the descent to checkpoint 3. Our spirits were lifted when the sun hit. We definitely were waiting all night on it and it came at the perfect time. We made our way down the steep descent which soon flattened out to easy runnable downhill and we clocked some great miles here. We would pass a couple more runners in this section before arriving to mile 39, checkpoint 3. This was around 8am.
As we made it near the top of the climb we reached the parking lot and visitor center area at Sams Point. Here we could fill up water from the water fountain and not worry about filtration. The race doesn't allow any aid but you can utilize anything that is offered to the public. So a quick water stop there and we were on our way to the top of Sams Point. The views were absolutely incredible. It was my first time up there and I was shocked. A great reward for a tough climb.
This section got rugged real fast. Probably the rockiest terrain I've been on. Hard to move fast even though it was more downhill and flat. The rocks were just in such awkward positions for so long it felt so hard to move. To make matters even worse we reached another flooded section of trail but luckily it didn't last too long. This time it was nearly to my knees though. This section was proving to be tough and it's definitely known for that.
|rock squeeze :P|
This section never really got easier onward, it was just rough and rugged, extremely rocky, lots of roots sticking out and quite steep in areas. We were so happy to have finished the scramble and feeling that it wasn't as bad as we were anticipating, it would soon turn into what seemed like a never ending section. It was kind of the first time we thought "oh shit, we got a ways to go still" being 50+miles in already. This whole time though I think we passed a ton of runners. Maybe 6 or so, in this whole 13 mile stretch. So morale wasn't low, but I'd say we were cautiously optimistic.
|Top of the scramble|
This was exact location is where my dad missed cutoff 4 years ago by 20 minutes. This was great news because we got there around 2:45pm (almost 2 hours before cutoff). This meant we were on course for over 20 hours! We were making great time but we were out of water and needed to take a break to re-organize as well. It ended up being the longest but most needed break. We were there for 15 minutes. It gave us time to stretch, squat and rest the muscles a bit while we took care of ourselves. I got my water filtered and re-organized and my dad did the same. He cleaned his shoes out of rocks and mud. This whole time my feet were fine in the sandals. A few minutes went by and two runners would appear behind us dropping out. We would pack out by 3pm, with16 miles to go with 9 hours until the final cutoff. Plenty of time... right? what could go wrong... right?
We would run into a problem quite soon. My dads bladder wasn't working. He originally thought the straw was bent, but after another look that wasn't the case. He had to push the connector together in order to get water. This would require him taking off his pack every time he needed water, so he ended up rigging the bladder to the side of his pack. Honestly it was good thinking. It was awkward though because it was heavy and he had to hold it with one arm but it worked for the meantime. My dad also really started to not each much of anything. He was getting sick of everything, nothing I had could help him either so it was a tough situation. His body at this point was just rejecting everything, luckily water he could have. We pushed on, knowing this could be a big problem in the coming hours.
Most of this next section went on fine. I don't remember much of the course in details from here on out. Everything just started to feel the same. We didn't run into any issues the rest of this short 5 mile section, but things were hurting no doubt. My dad was still carrying that damn bladder. There was very little running from here on out. Even though the checkpoints got closer in distance(much closer) they seemed so far away. We were moving slow but fast enough. We would take it checkpoint by checkpoint from here on out, calculating how much time we had to get there before cutoff, and we had plenty of time. I think we could have done 30min miles the last 16 or so if we had to. Eventually we made it to checkpoint 5 maintaining a solid pace and buffer over the cutoff time. I think we had an hour and a half before cutoff which would put us around 5pm. Another quick stop just to reorganize nutrition and we were off. My dad was still is carrying his bladder, definitely lighter at this point but he wasn't complaining about it and we were still moving solid.
After some nice words from the volunteers at checkpoint 5 that got us pumped, we were off! 11 miles to go baby. Just one more 5 mile section, and a 6 mile section after that and we are done! It doesn’t sound too bad and that was our mentality, even though we were hurting we were nearly 90% done with the course. That’s huge. But in these type of races you really start to slow down towards the end, at least that was the case for us.
|Happiness at mile 50|
As for my dad, he was in pretty rough shape. About two thirds through the climb, his quad started to cramp up really bad. It was to the point of making him stop and massage his quads out. He's had this issue in the past. He was really behind on food, having small sips of apple sauce was all his stomach could handle. He must've had under 100 calories in the past couple of hours. With us having pretty serious issues at this point didn’t think we could finish. Even with the extra time I seriously didn't know if my body could keep going. I initiated the conversation and my dad agreed he thought it might not be smart to continue, especially with how I was feeling. My dad says now(postSRT) that he saw it as an easy way out for him too. He wasn't going to continue if I wasn't. He was struggling a lot more physically than I was but for me, this was all mental.
|to the finish!!|
|Heather and Francessca at the finish line! #RunPB|
Finish Line/Post Race
As always thanks for reading. I appreciate each and every single one of you :)